Part 2 of 6- What is Soil?
Welcome Back! In our last post, we introduced you to the abundant aggregate arena- touching on its key materials, uses, and subconscious integration with our everyday lives. Today, we will dive into the first, and arguably most prolific member of the aggregate family- SOIL.
To get started, let’s begin by revisiting the definition of SOIL- ‘a mixture of minerals, organic materials, air, and water’. The manner that these four (4) ingredients interact, determine which ‘type’ of soil it is. While soil is considered a ‘renewable’ resource, it is important to remember that a single inch of topsoil can take hundreds of years (or more) to develop- depending on which region of the earth it is in. There are five (5) major factors which determine how a soil forms, geologists refer to them as CLORPT- climate, organisms, relief (landscape), parent material, and time (Soils Matter, 2017).
Of the twelve (12) categories, Chatt Soil, offers six (6) to its customers in the metropolitan Chattanooga area:
- Fill dirt
- Sifted Topsoil
- Natural Soil
- Planting Soil
- Mushroom Compost
- Garden Mix
Keep reading as we discuss each of these different types, discussing how it is made and ultimately, used.
Understanding the Differences
Fill dirt is a heavy, often clay-based, subsoil that is not filtered or processed. It is ‘harvested’ during the industrial contracting process, or anytime that a large hole is dug. Think of installing a swimming pool in your backyard- all the material that comes out of that spot would become fill dirt. Since the material is not processed in any way, it often contains roots, rocks, and large clods. Its primary usages include filling sinkholes, backfilling retaining walls, and serving as a foundational layer for grading and leveling projects. Due to its composition- it is not considered a viable medium for growing grass or other plants, as it lacks the nutrients needed to support plant life.
Nutrient rich topsoil is the perfect topper for seeding and sodding lawns or planting gardens and flowerbeds. This material is light, fluffy, and easily spreadable. Sifted Topsoil provided by the Chatt Soil team is dry and stored out of the elements to ensure that it is manageable and ready to use for your next project. Anywhere that your landscape needs a high nitrogen amendment- this is a fantastic solution. This material is most commonly used as a ‘top-layer’ after filling a large hole, or grading, and provides an excellent medium for planting grass or laying sod.
After 20 years of coating pastures on an operational cattle farm, our natural soil is nutrient rich and will provide a solid growing medium for your lawn. Due to its unsifted nature- it will likely contain clumps, and small roots/rocks. It is predominately used in larger projects where it acts as a cost buffer over sifted soil, and for customers who have access to heavy machinery, as the process of laying the material will break it down. Both Natural Soil and Sifted Topsoil are excavated from the earth during construction and other grading projects.
The product is sifted, yet contains small bits of twigs and sticks mixed in. Our planting soil is full of organic materials which decompose over time to provide nutrients to your plants. This aggregate is preferred over the Natural and Sifted options when engaging in landscaping activities. It is a biproduct of mulch production and has undergone the nitrogen cycle, making it rich with nutrients and incredible at growing plants and vegetables.
Mushroom Compost is a material that is produced by decomposing plant/organic materials. The resulting mixture is stocked full of nutrients and beneficial organisms. Additionally, its texture aids water retention and allows the gardener to water it less and focus their attention on other tasks. Commonly used with vegetable gardens and perennials, which draw a tremendous amount of minerals and resources from the soil- leaving it nutrient deficient. Due to its strong nitrogen composition, the material should always be mixed with other soil to ensure the plants are not ‘overfed’.
Our finest product for flowers and/or vegetables. This material is a 50/50 blend of sifted topsoil and mushroom compost. With the addition of the Mushroom Compost, this offering provides a long-lasting nutrient boost to the growing space and ensures the best products are grown cyclically or annually.
Now that you know more than you ever thought you would about dirt, the Chatt Soil team would like to thank you for reading our material, we sincerely hope that it has been informative and beneficial to you and your project. Additionally, we encourage you to contact us directly at (423) 277-2411, should you have any questions or would like to place your order!
Make sure you join us again next week for Part 3 of the series, where we roll into the next aggregate category- Gravel! We will be talking about rocks, rocks, and more rocks! We look forward to seeing you!!